Ulysses Mirko Roman McLean died unexpectedly on May 26, 2016 in Montpelier. He was 44 years old.
Mr. McLean was born in Plainfield and raised in Plainfield and East Calais. He was the son of the late Elizabeth Roman of Williamstown, to whom he was deeply devoted, and the late Taylor McLean of Jersey City, N.J. both of whom died in February.
Ulysses graduated from U-32 high school, where he was a noted athlete and an All-State soccer player as a freshman, an unprecedented honor at the time. He went on to study at the New England Culinary Institute in Essex, and began his chef career locally, aiding in the prep and opening of Sarducci’s. He spent several years as Sous Chef working with Executive Chef Duane Alberico at the Best Western in Waterbury and the Steeple Market in Fairfax. Ulysses also worked under Executive Chef Michael Kloeti as Chef de Partie at Waterbury Center’s beautiful Michael’s on the Hill, and as a Baker and Assistant Pastry Chef at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe. He also spent several years in Los Angeles, California where his confidence and skills landed him as Chef de Partie at the Beverly Hills Four Seasons Hotel.
Ulysses was also a master martial artist who began his studies at the age of 8, and pursued this passion throughout his life, earning black belts in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Shaolin Kempo Karate. By 2000 Ulysses was part of the Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team and the International Hapkido Association where he excelled as a disciplined, committed athlete and competitor. In 2006 he returned to Karate training independently with Grand Master Michael Pick of the Universal Kenpo Federation.
Ulysses loved the outdoors and alternated working in restaurants with landscaping, life guarding and property & facilities management at prestigious resorts such as Topnotch in Stowe. In 2003 he earned his PADI advanced open water scuba diving certificate while traveling in Culebra, Puerto Rico, a place he planned to return to in the near future.
Ulysses traveled and lived outside of Vermont many times in his life, yet he continually returned to Central Vermont for the love of his family. His enthusiasm and spirit were infectious and his smile could warm the coldest room. He touched many hearts with his endearing ways, his delicious meals and his gracious, insightful teachings of self-defense and martial arts.
He is survived by his sister, Sienna McLean-LoGreco and her husband, Peter LoGreco, his nieces Ellanora and Francesca LoGreco, all of Los Angeles; and a brother, Ornan McLean and his wife, Annie Burmiester of Vergennes; as well as his step-father Wallace Roberts of Williamstown, and former wife, Jasmine Bigelow of Stowe.
A memorial service will be held this summer.